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Elaine Skinner-Reid

news published date 16 October 2017
  • Our Stories
”What have you done today to make yourself proud?”

Elaine Skinner-Reid is Global Head of Treasury Trading at BP. Treasury Trading, operates in the U.K, the U.S and Singapore, providing the interface between BP and the international financial markets. Elaine joined BP in January 2017 from the banking sector where she spent more than 20 years in the global financial markets and prides herself on running a diverse and inclusive team.

What is the best piece of career advice you have ever received?

Always do what is right by the customer and the shareholder, let your career take care of itself. In our careers, we are often faced with ambiguous situations fraught with decisions or politics, and sometimes both, defaulting back to this mantra stood me in very good stead through some challenging times.

What piece of career advice do you give others?

Have a clear objective and work towards it. It sounds so simple but it’s easy to get distracted, for example, during the summer months, the markets can be quiet if you are trading, take the time to develop yourself in learning a new market or thinking of ways to improve the way you do things, or even finding out more about yourself or how others perceive you. Look for continuous development opportunities and importantly, own your own career, no one else will own it for you. 

What is your proudest achievement from your career to date?

I try to live by the Heather Small song …”What have you done today to make yourself proud?” and look to things daily to make me proud. In terms of defining moments, a few years ago, I coached and developed an individual who management had deemed to have reached a ceiling in his career many years before. After years of career stagnation, I gave him a little opportunity and a lot of self-belief and he surpassed all expectations to become an exceptional leader and was promoted into an executive role. It is amazing what you can achieve with a little trust, a growth mind-set and some effort. 

What is your favourite business book and why?

Can I only pick one? It would have to be the first one I read very early in my career and which I have gone on to recommend to many to read, in my professional and private life – Who Moved My Cheese, Dr Spencer Johnson – Because in our lives, our work and our industry, change in constant, learn to embrace it if you want to excel and frankly, if you want to be happy.

How do you manage your work/life balance?

Becoming a mother taught me a lot of things which made me better at my job. I learnt to delegate and outsource, which made me a far better manager. Being a working mother teaches you incredible time management skills and you become resourceful: there have been early morning train journeys to work where I have frantically ordered nativity costumes, thank heavens for Amazon Prime.
It took me a while to figure out the balance and now that my eldest is 10, I feel I have a good grasp of it. When I am at work, I am all in and when I am at home, I am all in, this allows me to dedicate quality time to both. Without the right balance, it can really impact your performance at work and your overall wellbeing, yet being present takes constant discipline and effort.